I posted an article earlier on Gil Hyatt’s ongoing disputes with the USPTO. He also has ongoing disputes with the California Tax Board that reach back to his early licensing revenue from his 1990 microprocessor patent. The case is back before the Supreme Court for the third time. See Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt (Hyatt I), 538 U.S. 488 (2003); Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt (Hyatt II), 136 S.Ct. 1277 (2016).
The basic issue is that a Nevada jury found that California had used improper aggression in pursuing Hyatt for taxes that were not really owed. At trial, the jury awarded Hyatt $300 million in damages. The punitive damages were reduced however by the Supreme Court.
The question that the court will focus on again this year:
Whether Nevada v. Hall, 440 U.S. 410 (1979), which permits a sovereign State to be haled into another State’s courts without its consent, should be overruled.
In its 2016 decision, the Supreme Court was evenly divided on the same question.
The board has asked us to overrule Hall and hold that the Nevada courts lack jurisdiction to hear this lawsuit. The Court is equally divided on this question, and we consequently affirm the Nevada courts’ exercise of jurisdiction over California.
This time though, that tie is potentially already broken with the addition of Justice Gorsuch.
Read more at ScotusBlog: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/franchise-tax-board-of-california-v-hyatt-2/